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Furnace work due at Zeledyne plant

Post Time:Sep 26,2008Classify:Company NewsView:364

The glass maker will temporarily shut a furnace line.

The Zeledyne automotive glass-making plant will shut down its T1 furnace line for an overhaul by the end of the year, a company spokeswoman says.

Details on how much the furnace rebuild would cost were not available, but this year's rebuild of the T2 line at the former Ford glass plant cost about $30 million, according to reports. Ford Motor Co. paid for that rebuild, but new owner Robert Price promised to spend about $100 million updating the 1.4 million-square-foot Tulsa facility when he bought it from Ford's Automotive Components Holdings LLC in a deal that closed earlier this year.

The two furnaces can produce several hundred tons of automotive and architectural glass per day, according to reports.

The nation's economic slowdown has given Zeledyne a little breathing room to rebuild the furnace.

"This allows us to take advantage of a soft automotive market to do this necessary work," Zeledyne spokeswoman Della DiPietro said in an e-mailed reply to the Tulsa World. "It also gives us flexibility to bring back the capacity when the economy and customer demand strengthen."

The Zeledyne plant, which employs nearly 600 people, opened as a Ford facility in 1974. The automaker spun off its parts-making assets into Visteon Corp. in 2000, but took it back under the ACH group when the spinoff lost money.

Ford planned to close or sell most of its ACH operations and offered buyouts to many union workers. Price, a University of Tulsa graduate and investor in real estate and oil, bought ACH plants in Tulsa, Nashville, Tenn., and Juarez, Mexico. No financial terms were disclosed about the transaction, but part of it was financed by an $80 million asset-backed loan by Bank of America Business Capital to privately owned Zeledyne.

The T1 furnace line produces about 75 percent of its glass for the automotive market, with the remainder focused on architectural glass. The T2 line, which is hoped to last another 12 years, makes all of its glass for architectural markets around the world, according to reports.

Source: Tulsa World Author: shangyi

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